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spinal roots and herniations

baffledbbaffled Posts: 375
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Realize that no one is a doctor here - but perhaps your docs have commented on this thought: If the herniation is not interferring with the large spinal root, does that mean it is not pressing on other nerve roots?

thanks patti


  • Hi Patti,

    I'm not quite clear on your question. The nerve roots branch off of the spinal cord, left and right, each one passing through the neuroforamina (openings) between the vertebrae before branching out towards the arms, legs, or whatever part of the body that nerve feeds. When the disc that sits between the vertebrae collapses it can push toward the spinal cord or it can push sideways into the neuroforaminal openings and put pressure on the nerve root at that level. Pressure on a nerve root doesn't mean the whole nerve pathway hurts--you may just have pain in your lower leg or in a shoulder, etc, but the pain or numbness is caused by pressure on the nerve root at that spot where it exits the spinal cord. If the disc is putting pressure directly on the spinal cord, that can cause all kinds of problems.


    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • That is the best explanation i have ever heard. Thank you!

    Okay here is a follow up question: If the disk has collapse is it possible that it doesn't push towards the spinal cord or sideways to the neuroforaminal openings?

    thank you patti
  • Yes it can actually collapse the opposite way of the spinal cord. Many of those will produce no pain at all.
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